Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A luxury offshoot from the Hilton brand, the Conrad feels like any other business hotel despite its spiffy 36-story Downtown tower.
Muzak, or something close to it, always seems to be playing in the background at the Conrad. The soft-synth facsimiles I heard playing during my stay included Madonna's "Live to Tell" and Smokey Robinson's "The Tracks of My Tears" -- a fitting soundtrack to a hotel that strikes some, but not most, of the same tones as a boutique property.
The hotel's 203 guest rooms and 103 residences take up 17 floors of a 36-story Downtown skyscraper, Espirito Santa Plaza. The rest of the floors are occupied by condos and offices. Taking the elevator to the hotel's lobby on the 25th floor feels more like going to the bank than checking into a hotel, as is the case at many hotels in downtown Miami.
Though branded a luxury outpost of the Hilton chain, the Conrad is still a midrange buisness hotel at heart. It's located in an area that pretty much shuts down after happy hour. Common areas have hip décor, but guest rooms look like any other Hilton.
The trendy bar -- outfitted with mod, arching lamps and lime green booths -- and rooftop pool move the hotel a bit closer in the South Beach boutique direction, but it's a long way off. Service feels corporate, not cozy, and accessing the hotel's promised amenities, from the pool to the pillow menu, isn't easy. The pool, for example, is located on top of the hotel's parking garage and takes three elevator rides and a walk across the street to access it from guest rooms.
Even for a business hotel, the Conrad isn't quite up to snuff. The Wi-Fi is dismally slow -- I clocked upload speeds below 120 Kbps -- making it difficult to get much work done. While the hotel is slightly hipper than the nearby J.W. Marriott, the Marriott's service outshines the Conrad's.
On Brickell Avenue, Miami's business thoroughfare, the hotel is perfect for business travelers who need to get to work. Those who want to hit the beach -- 15 minutes away by car -- should probably stay elsewhere.
Located in Espirito Santo Plaza, a 36-story mirror of the Biscayne Bay in Miami's Downtown financial district, the hotel shares its building with office space and perminent residences. It's surrounded by banks, office buildings, and high-rise condo towers. By both day and night, four-lane Brickell Avenue has plenty of car traffic but very few pedestrians. Most other business hotels, including the Four Seasons and J.W. Marriott, are just a block or two away. But this part of Downtown shuts down after happy hour, and it can feel like a ghost town on the weekends.
For the beach, South Beach is a 15-minute taxi ride away that will cost you $20 to $25.
Rooms at the Conrad, like the more expensive Four Seasons next door, are quite comfortable. The size of the standard Deluxe room varies quite a bit, ranging from 382 to 586 square feet. In addition to regular guest rooms, the hotel also has studio, one-, and two-bedroom residences available for both long and short stays. All residences feature a full kitchen but no washer/dryers. The hotel has special guest rooms available for the hearing and visually impaired with tactile alarm clocks, phone amplifiers, visual smoke detectors, visual door-knock signalers, and visual phone alerts.
Rooms had soft renovations in 2012, refreshing carpets, beds, and wall paper.
With a pool and reasonably priced one- and two-bedroom residences, the Conrad is a solid choice for business travelers bringing their families along.
The hotel has a limited supply of adjoining rooms, but they can't be guaranteed until check-in. Even better, the Conrad has one- and two-bedroom residences that, unlike the standard rooms, come with a full kitchen (but no washer/dryers). There are studio, one, and two-bedroom options, and these rooms often cost about the same as the regular suites. No rooms have sleeper sofas, but a rollaway can be brought to any room at no additional cost. Cribs are also available, also at no charge.
Rooms have the Disney Channel OnDemand and DVD players. The hotel has a DVD lending library should more Disney fare be required. Kids get complimentary popcorn upon request. There are also floaties at the pool for kids big and small.
Both the restaurant and in-room dining offer kids' menus.
Taking up 17 floors of a 36-story downtown skyscraper, this Hilton luxury offshoot has some swanky touches -- a rooftop pool, a top-notch spa and gym, 500-thread-count linens, and spacious standard rooms. It goes toe-to-toe with the neighboring JW Marriott. What's the difference? The Conrad has a better bar and restaurant; the Marriott has better service.